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Selling Tips for the Younger Person

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Recently I was approached by a couple of young people that were new to the role of selling in financial services. I was impressed by their keen desire to learn and quick grasp of the sales techniques we were discussing. They both had an interesting challenge relating to selling that I am sure is one many young people getting into the industry are presented with: what can the young person do to create more credibility with older clients that may not take them seriously because of their age or perceived lack of experience?

Here’s a few ideas:

1. Dress the part. Like it or not, we make judgments about people, in part, by how they look. You can't control your height or your age but you can control your wardrobe. Invest in yourself and your career by starting to build a wardrobe of professional looking attire. In addition, pay attention to hairstyles, make up, and accessories that worked for you when you were in school, but may no longer convey the professional image you are looking for.

2. Present strong, positive body language. Much of what we communicate to clients is nonverbal. Generally speaking you will appear more confident when you:

    Sit tall with good posture.
    Lean slightly forward and maintain good eye contact.
    Make sure your chair height puts you at eye level with your clients - never have your chair lower.
    When greeting someone walk towards them with purpose with your arm outstretched to shake their hand. Someone once said that a good firm handshake is the "great equalizer".

3. Be good at small talk. Nervousness can make you look incompetent and nothing spells nervous like someone that is awkward with small talk. That first few minutes of the meeting is when you start to develop rapport so be confident in your ability to talk about what's going on in your community and current events. Eliminate the non-words from your vocabulary - those "ums" and "ahhs" that make you sound nervous. A public speaking course is a fantastic way to learn how to communicate better and increase confidence levels. Check out your local toastmasters.

4. Know your stuff. There is no substitute for knowing your industry and good product knowledge. The reason some people are at times leery of dealing with a younger person is because they are worried about their lack of experience. You can accelerate your experience level by spending extra time learning about your industry and products and not just waiting for the information to come to you when you need it. Make a steep learning curve part of your weekly plan. 

5. Have a sales strategy. People are attracted to people that know what they are doing and when you are confident in your sales process, that will come across to your clients. Whatever you do, don't jump in and start presenting product ideas prematurely to try and show them you know what you are doing. You'll come across like a know-it-all and combined with your youth, that will be a recipe for disaster. Stand out from the typical sales person and build credibility at the same time by spending more time asking good questions that get the clients thinking and talking about their circumstances. 

6. Begin the initial meeting with an agenda outlining what you will cover. Bottom line is you need to stand out from the more mature members of your team so look to the little things that will help you do that. 

7. Develop a credibility statement. Know what you will say when someone says, "you look young" or asks how long you have worked there. In fact, you can meet the objection head on before a client brings it up by making your credibility statement part of your initial introduction.

8. Be sure to professionally, and prominently display any certificates of achievement in your office.

9. Develop a one-page bio that you can leave people with as part of your introductory information package (other information about the company you work for). Include your education and experience to date as well as a list of testimonials from satisfied clients. How do you get those testimonials? Ask the clients that seem like they have benefited from your services the most how they found dealing with you. When they sing your praises ask them if you can quote them. If they agree suggest you will write down what they said and email it to them for their approval. Two or three personal testimonials from satisfied clients will go a long way to improve your credibility in the eyes of the skeptical.

10. Similar to the hard copy bio that you hand out to clients, have a current LinkedIn profile that outlines your education and experience. Create a link to your profile that you include as part of your email signature.

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Copyright © 2011 by Fusion Performance Group Inc.
Copyright © 2012 by Fusion Performance Group Inc. If you share this, print it out, or reproduce it in any way, please retain this copyright statement.